Ryan Weaver could have given up a long time ago.
The former Black Hawk helicopter pilot and Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army could have given up on his country music aspirations on Jan. 8, 2004 when his brother and fellow Army serviceman Aaron was killed in action when the medevac helicopter he was a passenger in was shot down by enemy fire. Or he could have given up on Dec. 17, 2003 when his brother-in-law Randy Billings was laid to rest one row back from Aaron after also being killed by enemy fire.
But he didn’t – because that’s just what heroes do.
“I’m chasing my dreams in my brother Aaron and my brother-in-law Randy’s memory,” Ryan said in an exclusive interview with Rare Country. “In 2003, I had my boots in the sand in Iraq and in 2015, I had them in the circle of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Indeed, Ryan has embarked on a country music career that has had him playing for country music fans across the country and also playing alongside some of country music’s favorite artists, including the one and only country legend Charlie Daniels. In fact, Ryan will join Charlie and an all-star list of artists such as Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and Kid Rock at the “Charlie Daniels 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam” on Nov. 30 in Nashville.
But on Oct. 18, Ryan took another step toward country stardom with the release of his new music video for his new single “Burn.” In what many are calling “America’s new fight song,” Ryan tears into some delicate territory with an ode to never going down without a fight.
Yet, despite the video’s pain-driven lyrics and earth-shattering scenes, it’s the story behind the video that hits straight at the heart. “At the beginning of the video, that’s my dad reading the quote,” Ryan tells Rare Country. “And the radio communication? That’s my older brother. Having two of the greatest men in my life play a part in this video …”
And then, Ryan begins to cry – because that’s just what heroes do.
“This is not some anti-Hillary video,” he continues through the tears. “Yes, I’m a second amendment supporter and I’m literally sticking to my guns in this video, but what this really is is yet another way to honor the sacrifices of so many. I initially wrote this song for my brothers and sisters in arms.”
But yes, the timing of the video was purposeful for the Florida native. “More people are paying attention to what is going on in this country right now than ever before,” Ryan says emphatically. “To me, this video can send a message of solidarity.”
And personally, Ryan says the video also serves as the beginning of an entirely new story for him. “I’m not some guy who grew up singing country music from the age of 3,” Ryan explains. “I listened to pop and rock and didn’t start singing for a long time. But country music speaks to me. It helps me tell my story and the story of those who came home in a flag-covered casket. And I hope it would make my brother proud. I don’t want to let life just pass me by. I’m here to chase my dreams with reckless abandon.”
Hell yeah, Ryan Weaver, because that’s truly what heroes do.